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03/26/2008

Barber out for gay blood

by Jeremy Hooper

 Good As You Images Barbercolor-1-1-1Whenever Matt Barber writes an anti-gay commentary, picking the most offensive part becomes about as difficult as picking your nose in the minutes following a quadruple amputation surgery (when you've already had a complete rhinoplasty a day earlier).  But from his latest piece in which he brutally lashes out against gay activists in general and Joe Solmonese in particular for pushing to lift the sweeping ban on gay blood donations, we have chosen the following as the text chunk most deserving of contempt:

In recent days, Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern has been viciously attacked and ruthlessly maligned, even receiving death threats, for saying publicly that "the homosexual agenda is destroying the nation." She even went so far as to say that, in her estimation, homosexual behaviors and "gay" activism pose a greater threat than terrorism.

Reasonable people can debate that opinion, but the actions of "gay" activists in South Africa
[who are, as many gay folks do, donating blood despite the ban] provide one example among many which would seem to illustrate her point. To intentionally and surreptitiously defy valid health and safety regulations - very likely contaminating the blood supply and infecting untold numbers of innocent people - sounds an awful lot like terrorism to me.

Sally Kern can rest her case, but Joe Solmonese still has a big hole from which to dig himself. With his blunder, he has severely damaged his own credibility and has caused a tremendous setback to the radical movement he leads (a good thing, really).

It's unconscionable that he would place a deceptive and dangerous political agenda above the health and well-being of American men, women and children. Homosexual activists who disingenuously cry out for "equal rights" should put the "rights" of others to be safe and healthy above their own selfish political ambitions.

Okay, so we are 100%, unapologetically in favor of lifting the blanket ban.  With testing being what it is today (estimated HIV risk from a unit of blood is about one per two million in the U.S) and with the fact that HIV is not a gay-only disease, it's downright offensive and antiquated to say that any man who has had sex with a man even once since 1977 is forbidden for life from contributing to our nation's blood supply.  We feel strongly that the questioning process needs to be updated so that it is based on behavior and actual risks, not orientation.  So we'll make not one concession to Matt's attempts to further demonize the gay male population -- who, in an earlier portion, he describes as "people [who] yield to disordered sexual temptations that can literally kill them spiritually, emotionally and physically" -- and we will not not apologize for anyone who chooses to donate blood despite the unjust ban.

So now that that's out of the way: Is Matt HONESTLY trying to build on Sally Kern's comments in a way that makes those who protest this ban to seem like terrorists?! Is he really painting us as little Bin Ladens just because we wish to see bins laden with untainted gay blood?  Is he seriously suggesting that Solmonese is a terrorist not only against the populace, but also against the gay rights movement?  And is he really so desperate to make "gay" and "diseased" synonymous terms that he eschews all reasoned consideration of the facts in favor of a hyperbolic presentation of bias?

Of course he is.

Ya know, we would never use words like "terrorist" to describe our opposition, because we have a soul.  Also we enjoy sleeping at night with a clean conscience.  But for anyone who pays attention, there is no denying that Matt Barber is someone who is blowing the "compassionate" mask off of evangelical Christianity and the "politically wise" mask off of the Concerned Women For America on a daily basis (not to mention the "women" part, which is also somewhat negated by his omnipresence).  He may think it's "unconscionable" to favor behavior-based questioning rather than a blanket orientation-based ban.  But honestly, judging by the brute stones that he seems to take a sick pleasure in casting against the LGBT community, why should any of us listen to his definition of what is right and reasonable?!  He has more than proven that his socio-political motives stand in opposition to both concepts.

“Gay” Activists Risk Your Life — Tolerate It! [CWA]

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Your thoughts

If people such as Matt Barber, Peter LaBarbera, and Sally Kern had lived in Germany during the 1930's I have no doubt they would have critisized Jews for being hateful toward Nazis and were therefore a grave threat.

It's also like little Billy in the school yard who has endured the daily taunts of a bully until he finally fights back. And then Billy gets charged with being a violent trouble maker.

Posted by: Richard Rush | Mar 26, 2008 9:29:10 PM

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but I'm certain that my blood is 100% safer than many a straight guy. I've been with one guy for longer than I care to mention, we're monogamous, we were tested several times after becoming a couple. Yet, a straight guy can have anonymous sex with several different women a week or with a prostitute and be considered a perfectly appropriate candidate for blood donation. It's probably the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. (Sorry, but when I'm upset, I tend to end sentences with prepositions.)

Posted by: Mike in the Tndra | Mar 26, 2008 10:22:48 PM

Another thing that Mr. Barber conveniently fails to mention is the drastic shortage in the blood supply. I am a med lab tech and an RN and have seen first hand how one single person can use up 6 or more units of blood in the matter of a day if their internal bleeding is severe. This does not even take into account other blood products that are made such as clotting factors,etc. that are needed by hemophiliacs or those undergoing surgery or anticoagulant therapy. You get a serious 2 car accident and you can suck dry some small or medium sized hospital's current supply- a call is immediately put into a courier to bring more, but that takes precious time. It would be a much stronger position, were I in the business of finger pointing, to assert that Mattie is denying greater access to blood products by supporting the ban on an entire segment of the population giving blood when adequate testing is in place to prevent transmission of bloodborne pathogens. As it is now, return policies have gradually gotten more and more strict, stockpiles at various hospitals smaller and smaller, couriers rush all over carrying precious little packets of life and blood drives continue to pull in sub-par participation. While techs, nurses, and doctors juggle how close to walk the line between transfusion for health and conserving the supply in the blood bank for the next accident or homicide. That's a rather odd position for someone who advocates sanctity of life if you ask me, but perhaps my understanding is incomplete.

Posted by: Russ | Mar 26, 2008 10:38:26 PM

I've been monogamous with my partner for over 26 years and we are both extremely healthy. So, my question to a patient would be: Would you rather have blood from us or Eliot Spitzer?

Barber would have his gullible readers believe that gays are, by definition, riddled with disease, while straights are just assumed to be disease free and thus deemed safe as blood donors.

Posted by: Richard Rush | Mar 26, 2008 11:27:45 PM

My mother contracted Hepatitis through her blood transfusion in 1991 during the height of the blood ban. My guess is that it probably came from a heterosexual, who probably has ha n=more ex partners than they can count? What does MAtt and Pete have to say about that? Ohh and by the way.. the hepititis almost killed her.

Posted by: Greg Collins | Mar 26, 2008 11:37:35 PM

Matt should be the last person to be talking about responsible debate and credibility

Posted by: Patrick B | Mar 27, 2008 12:36:52 AM

The scariest thing to me about the Red Cross's ban on gay blood donations is the unspoken message -- I don't think they're screening blood donations (as in physically testing them)! So their ham handed solution is to exclude a 'risk group,' and let multitudes of straight 'non'risk group' people donate, some who will definitely be HIV positive.

Posted by: Toismeaux | Mar 27, 2008 12:06:13 PM

It is sad to see the postings from the readoers of this story over at One News Now who truly believe that gay blood is "tainted". I don't know whether to laugh or be upset by the people who could read such a biased story and then take an additional step to the conclusion that the blood is somehow tainted just because the individual is gay. WOW!

Posted by: Loki | Mar 28, 2008 4:27:15 PM

Wow, Loki, great minds. I'm actually writing something up about that as we speak.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 28, 2008 4:32:06 PM

If the Red Cross is anything like the UK's National Blood Service, all donations are screened for HIV as well as some other diseases.

The ban on gay donors was put in place before the ELISA test for HIV was invented. Prior to that test, the only way to find out of blood was HIV+ was to put it in someone and see if they got ill. But once the test was available, and even once it became clear that the lifetime ban was overkill, the restriction was left. The ONN article shows one reason why - homophobia. The other reasons are over-caution ('Well, they are at higher risk... best be careful') and fear of lawyers ('If someone gets HIV from a gay donor, they could sue us for millions!')

Personally, I would just change the rules from 'No blood from any man who has ever done anything sexual with another man, ever' to a more reasonable 'no blood from anyone who has had sex with another man within the past two years.' Because if someone was infected two years ago, even though the symptoms of AIDS might not be apparent, they will have enough virus in their blood to show in the screening. Consider it a free public screening program.

I am a blood donor. I meet all the requirements. However, if I were a gay man who had not been sexually active for two years, I would feel no guilt about lying on the form.

Posted by: Suricou Raven | Mar 28, 2008 5:30:20 PM

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